CHICAGO (670 The Score) – When he was sent to Triple-A Iowa to open the season, Cubs sensation Christopher Morel’s focus extended beyond himself. He also had a desire to get back to the big leagues to support his teammates.
“I did not work hard to do something like this,” Morel said of his personal achievements. “I came back to help the team win. The only goal is to help make a W for the team each day.”
The Cubs sent Morel to Triple-A to start the campaign because they wanted him to play every day and initially didn’t see a regular slot in their lineup for him. He changed that view by “dominating” at Triple-A, as Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer recently said.
Morel has been more than just a regular in the lineup since being promoted on May 8. He has been a breakout star, hitting .358 with nine homers, 15 RBIs and a 1.317 OPS in 13 games. He recently homered in five consecutive games, becoming the first Cubs player to do so since Sammy Sosa in 1998, and is working on a 13-game hitting streak.
Morel’s superb performance has showcased his progress since he struggled in the final months of the 2022 season. He hit .183 with a .575 OPS last August and then hit .189 with a .762 OPS last September as MLB pitchers adjusted to him.
“In the offseason, I worked on my approach to breaking balls and pitches on the outside corner," Morel said. “The goal was to see that pitch from the middle to outside and be able to make good contact. I wanted to hit less groundballs and drive the ball to the opposite field. I concentrate on hitting to the middle of the field – but be ready to hit it hard where it is pitched. I must be ready on the inside pitch as well and drive that ball.”
In a showcase of his power, Morel has 20 homers in 42 games split between Triple-A and the big leagues this season. He believes he can keep improving as well.
"I don't believe there is a limit,” Morel said. "If you say 25 in two months, that limits what you think you can do in a month. What happens to the other months? So every day, I try to have a new goal. That goal is all based around a team W. If you go 4-for-4 or 0-for-4, it's still about helping the team win, not your numbers.”
The versatile Morel has played all over the diamond for the Cubs, making five starts in center field, four at designated hitter, three at second base and one in left field.
"I say most of the time I try and make defense simple,” Morel said. “If I am playing the infield, second, short, third base, I use the same approach. I do the same work before the game. The three outfield jobs, same approach – make the play and throw it to the right cutoff man. I want to be the best player I can be at each position I am playing.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.
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